As someone who was involved in a serious car accident in Watertown, which required many months of pain management, I am all too aware of the risks of addiction from therapeutic pain medications. Fortunately, the medical professionals on my team were mindful of this risk and utilized the most effective, but least addictive, options available.
Too many families have lost loved ones, or seen productive lives ruined, by unintended and avoidable addictions to prescription pain killers. Unfortunately, guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not suggest that medical providers first utilize less addictive Class 3 analgesics such as Tylenol with Codeine to treat pain and gauge its effectiveness before prescribing extremely effective but highly addictive Class 2 pain medications such as Oxycodone. There are certainly circumstances in which Class 2 narcotics are warranted. But in many cases, they should not be the treatment of first resort.
I am permanently disabled, and pain is simply a part of my life at times. I am grateful that my doctors are committed to helping me achieve a quality of life that does not include over-prescribing pain medications. The CDC should re-evaluate its guidelines to encourage medical providers to take appropriate steps to provide safe and effective treatment and pain management that will not further fuel our nation’s opioid crisis.
Doctors take an oath to do no harm. Avoiding the over-prescribing of addictive pain medications is in line with this edict, protecting not only the patient but also loved ones and communities across the nation that have been ravaged by opioid addiction.